Corrections.com — Being a correctional officer is stressful all by itself. Making things more complicated than they already are makes it a tough job to do. Dealing with the negative impulses or impacts that surround them while on the job and giving them little peace of mind off the job. Thus they carry it with them 24 /7 without much relief or satisfaction resulting in early retirement, resignations or corruptive thinking. Corruption becomes a dirty word. It is everywhere you look whether you are inside of prison or outside. The politics related to these kind of corruptible behaviors trickles down from the top to the bottom and often results in working with assholes as supervisors or managers. It’s just the reality of the abusive environment but keeping it in the proper context is the most important decision you can make. It doesn’t have to be that way and you can change your own environment by not buying into the concept and staying on course to do your job.
Officers exposed to this negativity never feel comfortable and take up a defensive position that is often called paranoia. Every day is a challenge not to let the environment poison them. It doesn’t suit many hence the high turnover in this particular criminal justice field. It’s just a reality that prison work is not for everybody and some should think about getting out before it is too late and something bad happens to them. Those that can deal with negativity and stress will overcome these barriers and become good officers.
Learning the ropes at the Academy can be very frustrating. There are often two different messages told to you while learning the basics of corrections. There are instructors that tell you how to handle this job by the book and there are supervisors coming in to guest lecture and tell you to forget the book and do it another way. This mixed signal often created confusion and distorts the truth of how to really do your job as a correctional officer. The truth is when you graduate, the only skill you picked up at the Academy was to document and cover your ass [CYA] yourself as you will fear being criticized or ostracized for expressing or performing tasks contrary to expectations of supervisors and managers set on doing the job their way or the highway.
The moment you hit the line you find out that teamwork is just a word. The reality strikes you like a lock in a sock to the head and makes you realize that officers don’t stick together like it was preached at the Academy. Getting help is rare and being ridiculed is another way to crush your spirit as you focus on doing your job right but are hampered by those wanting you to do it their way. Some will say “get over it” and adjust your coping skills to get the job done. continue reading...